“Our founders made us heirs of their devotion to the Sacred Heart” (RoL 112).
Are spirituality and devotion the same? No. Do we tend to confuse them? Yes.
Spirituality is our manner of relating to God and the specific way of following Jesus Christ according to the charism that the Spirit grants to a person and that can be extended to a community. Each spirituality (Benedictine, Teresian, Dominican, Ignatian, Franciscan, Claretian …) usually bears the name of the person “touched” by the Spirit and emphasizes an aspect of the infinite richness of the personality of Jesus Christ, which has captivated the gaze of the initiator of that spirituality. This particular aspect becomes a way of entering into the experience of God and a specific way of following Jesus. Thus, the Teresian, Ignatian, Augustinian spirituality …
Religious devotion is the facility of placing oneself in the presence of God and having a personal and intimate encounter with God. It is a feeling or attitude of deep respect, veneration, attraction to the beloved person of Jesus Christ –or something or someone who represents him–, which entails the confident and generous surrender of one’s life. Thus, we speak of devotion to the Eucharist, to the rosary, to our Blessed Mother, to the Sacred Heart, to the Word … Contact with these realities awakens deep religious feelings that facilitate the mystical experience of a relationship with God.
Given this difference between devotion and spirituality, what can we say is our spirituality? Our devotion is clear: we have recieved that as inheritance. To “recognize” our spirituality we need only to turn to our Rule of Life and the writings of our founders.
From the outset, we cannot speak of a “corazonista”spirituality, or “Coindrian” sprituality, simply because there is none. Our Institute was nourished by the apostolic spirituality that permeated the missionary zeal of congregations born in that historical context. Our Rule says that the Institute was born from the “spiritual and apostolic thrust of our first brothers” (Preamble).
What is apostolic spirituality? Perhaps the person who best defined it was Saint Ignatius: to be contemplatives in action. That is, to seek, find and unite oneself to God (mystical) through the human realities in which we find ourselves in order to further the message of the Gospel. In our case, it is the school or other educational setting. In fact, this reality becomes for a brother a true altar where each day he presents the offering of his life for the salvation of all persons. And on that altar (the school) he unites himself with Jesus the Educator as a privileged sign of the “everlasting love with which God has traced the whole history of humanity” (RoL 113).
From this springs forth “the love for our brothers and for the young people entrusted to us” (RoL 118), because it is a love rooted in the love that Jesus has for us. We are gradually coming to the understanding that our Rule contains the spirituality of the Institute and the role that devotion to the Sacred Heart plays in it. But that is a theme that we leave for the next “Heart of Christ.”
Brother Carlos Almaraz